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Redmom 07-26-2011 05:56 AM

I have a gorgeous 8 month old boy.  Since he was about 5 months, he wakes every 1-2 hours.  Sometimes he will go back to sleep with my husband or I rocking him, other time he will only accept being nursed back to sleep.


We have tried lots of things to encourage him to sleep longer stretches.  We have tried the ideas in "No Cry Sleep Solution".  But we haven't seen any change in his sleep behaviour.  We don't believe in any CIO methods.


So we have come to accept that he is just the kind of baby who wakes frequently and it's his temperament and there is probably not much we can do other than know that one day he will sleep longer.  In the last couple of weeks he has slept a few 3 hour stretches which we find encouraging.


At the start of the night I sleep on the sofa and my husband sleeps in the bedroom with baby in the crib next to our bed.  When baby wakes he tries to rock him back to sleep.  At some point baby won't accept being rocked back to sleep, by this time I hear him crying so I sleep in our bed with baby and husband goes to the sofa.  I find with co-sleeping I don't get good quality sleep - baby is very restless, and when he stirs he looks around for the nipple, basically my sleep is very broken.


I wake up every morning exhausted.  During the day I nap when baby naps - but he only naps for 30-40 mins at a time and so just as I'm falling into a deep sleep I wake abruptly to the sound of him waking up and crying.


I just wish this sleep deprivation would end.  It's really getting me down and feels like we are stuck on a treadmill of endless nights with little and poor quality sleep.  During the day I feel I don't have the energy to properly engage with my baby, then I end up feeling guilty for not being a more hands on and "excited" mom. 


I guess I'm looking for any feedback and encouragement from other members who have been through this with their babies, and like to know your experiences and how they were resolved.  

Emelee 07-26-2011 10:39 AM

I just wanted to say that I am going through the sleep deprivation as well so I feel for you! DD is almost 8 months and I feel more exhausted now then when she was first born. I will be watching to see if anyone has any suggestions because I love co-sleeping but hate the restless, tossing, waking every hour thing that is currently going on. And it sucks because DH can't calm her down so it's up to me all night to keep her asleep (if I even can)!!

Originally Posted by Redmom View Post

I just wish this sleep deprivation would end.  It's really getting me down and feels like we are stuck on a treadmill of endless nights with little and poor quality sleep.  During the day I feel I don't have the energy to properly engage with my baby, then I end up feeling guilty for not being a more hands on and "excited" mom.  

 yeahthat.gif is exactly how I feel most of the time!!


Redmom 07-27-2011 09:07 AM

Originally Posted by Emelee View Post

I will be watching to see if anyone has any suggestions because I love co-sleeping but hate the restless, tossing, waking every hour thing that is currently going on.

Thanks Emeless.  I am beyond looking for solutions because I have come to believe that my son's wakefulness is something internal and it's just the way he sleeps.  But I'd love to get some hope from others who have been through this.  Everyone says "hang in there it will get better"....but I'm wondering..."when"....night after night it's the same thing.


Last night it was midnight when I was "summonsed" back to bed with DS but I felt so angry and resentful.  I told my husband I couldn't physically be around the baby, so he tried to rock him back to did no good and just ended up with all 3 of us being awake at 1am.  By then I had calmed down so put DS on the boob and tried to sleep.


I just felt so hopeless when I woke up this morning.

McGucks 07-27-2011 09:56 AM

No advice because we are still in the same boat, and DS2 is 16 months.  It is the rare night that he sleeps for two or three hours straight, and the only way to get him back to sleep is to nurse him.  Most nights (maybe 8 out of 10), he goes back to sleep shortly (within 10 minutes)...but I can't always fall back to sleep myself, and often, when I'm finally drifting off, he kicks me or wakes back up or what have you.  I love co-sleeping for many reasons, but I am a super light sleeper anyway and DH (who supports both co-sleeping and my sanity/being rested) sometimes questions whether it's still right for us.  I usually can't nap during the day for a couple of reasons, though I can a couple days out of the week.  It's not too great.  I get resentful towards DH (though he is a really good day and husband) since he can sleep right through it and, even if he were awake, would not be able to help...DS2 only wants me during the night.  I refuse to do CIO and refuse to read a bunch of advice books and try things and then feel like a big failure.

curlyaustin 07-27-2011 10:04 AM

Dear Redmom,

 I recall my son having a hard time sleeping when he was a little he was a bit premature and  had reflux...he only wanted to nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse...wanted no solids til age 1...I think he was 2 years old before he finally slept through the night and that was because I gave him some chamomile tea lol...but....He is 7 yrs old now and sleeps like a rockbiggrinbounce.gif

anyway, if you feel it is safe to try, you can do something that I do for baby #4 that works pretty well...I  brew some strong  oatstraw tea (sometimes I add red bush and hibiscus) and drink it before has lots of magnesium in it which may relax you and babe for longer stretches.....I know it is not fun to be sleepy and groggy all day. ..I hope you can get some much needed rest soon.

parsley 07-27-2011 10:05 AM

I don't really have any advice but I wanted to leave a message since this is very much the way things were with my daughter.  She woke every 45 mins - 1 1/2 hours throughout the first year of her life.  The periods of sleeping got a little better in the second year, sleeping 2-3 hours at least once a night, but still waking every 45 minutes during periods when she was going through a growth spurt, teething, or developmental change. 


The only thing that worked to keep her asleep was to have my nipple in her mouth or to have DH wear her in the moby wrap and sleep somewhat upright on the couch.  That was it.  No rocking, bouncing, singing, etc...  She exclusively slept in our bed or on DH until she was almost 3.


The good news is that shortly after she turned 2 things improved dramatically.  She started waking only 2 or 3 times a night and sometimes would sleep 5 hours straight.  At 3 1/2 she often sleeps 8 hours straight (though she still needs to nurse back to sleep). 


I know I can't offer a magic solution but hopefully it helps a little to know that you're not alone, and that it will eventually get better. 


(I'm pregnant now and find myself thinking that it can't possibly be worse than DD, so there's that too :) ). 


Good luck.

dancingkeys 07-28-2011 09:34 AM

I really feel your pain. Our daughter slept well (3-4 hours up to 5 hours) until 8 months. Then every 1-2 hours for seemingly ever. She is 2.5 now, and usually gets at least one 5 hr. stretch in there. Sometimes up to 10 hrs if growing. I accepted it as part of her personality (high need for sure), which helped. At first I tried everything but cio. I wrote everyone I knew. I too tried to the "No Cry Sleep Solution", Bach flower remedy, etc. Some techniques from the book I did find helpful.

The best thing for us was co-sleeping. Perhaps keep trying that in differenet ways, and see if it can work for you? We put her between us. I got close to nurse and moved away after she was asleep, or turned my back. She sometimes slept on my husband's chest or in the crook of his shoulder as she got older. We could still take turns with soothing, but at least we were horizontal. I felt like a walking zombie and absolutely could not function until we started doing that. I got used to it and slept much better after a few weeks.

We also believe teething to be a major source of the waking. Using the Hyland teething tablets (now just gel available) and the colic tabs helped a lot. I know colic ends at that point, but they continue to help her with gas and teething. The chamomile in them is great. A friend gives just the homeopathic chamomile.

Also, although it doesn't work the best for me personally, chiropractics for my daughter have been amazing.  It continues to help her on a regular basis. It was one of the only things that helped with colic and various illnesses. She always sleeps better directly following or 24 hrs after an adjustment.

Good luck! It's really hard, but seriously, it can't be forever. I just kept the mantra, "Teenagers sleep all the time."

carmen358 07-28-2011 12:24 PM

I can share my story too. My DD slept for 6 hour stretches up until she was about 7months old. Then she started waking every 30-90 minutes all night long. We did this for 6 months if you can believe it - totally not exaggerating. We bed share and nursed and I didn't have to work so it was bearable. I tried some elimination diet stuff and it seemed to help a bit for a short time. (Have you thought about allergies?) Then one day when she was about 16 or 17 months I decided to give up caffeine because we wanted to TTC again. The next day DD started sleeping 3-4 hour stretches. I have NO idea if it was the caffeine or just that she was developmentally ready. After a couple of weeks of consistent 4 hour stretches I decided to night wean (she was 18 months) because I was going back to work and couldn't function on little sleep. It was completely uneventful because she was able to understand what we were doing. I only had to cut out one nursing session and now she sleeps (at 19 months) a 7 hour stretch every night (sometimes wakes up once). You can survive! I didn't believe people when they told I would but I did.

Daffodil 07-28-2011 12:50 PM

My DD was like this as a baby.  At 18 months, she still rarely slept more than 2 hours at a stretch.  Around the time she turned 2, I nightweaned her, and things gradually began to get better then.  She slept through the night for the first time ever on the 5th night of no nursing.  She didn't start sleeping through the night all the time right away, but she began to sleep for longer stretches and more and more often sleep through the night.  By the time she was 2 1/2, she probably slept through the night about half the time.  She's 8 now, and still not a great sleeper.  She wakes up at night sometimes and has a hard time falling back to sleep.


I slept okay once we started full-time cosleeping, so I didn't have your long-lasting sleep deprivation problem.  But when DD was a newborn and I wasn't getting enough sleep, the only thing that saved me was having DP stay up with the baby sometimes while I went to bed early and got some extra sleep.  She nursed really often, so I had to make sure he had pumped milk to give her.  It should be easier for you to arrange something like that since your baby is older and doesn't need to nurse so often.  Can your husband take care of the baby all evening at least a couple of times a week while you go to bed really early and catch up on sleep?  Or can he let you sleep in late or take long naps on weekends while he takes care of the baby?  Do you know anyone who could come in and watch the baby during the day while you nap?

Churrl 07-28-2011 03:08 PM

We have had similar situation with DD who is a few weeks shy of one year old now. It took forever to get her down for her naps, and then she only slept for a half hour unless she was in the wrap with me or otherwise being held. But when I quit my job to watch kids at home so I could stay home with her, I had to find a way to fix that problem b/c I couldn't put her to sleep with the other kids running around. I had reached the end of my rope one night and was in tears explaining to my husband that I had no idea what to do.

I got the No Cry Sleep Solution book the next day. I took a few pointers from there and it has kept me sane. I don't know if this will be helpful to you... but here's what we did:

1. The biggest thing we did was to start a daily routine. I had always hated the idea of this, but I was desperate. And when I looked at when she got tired on her own, a pattern developed... so we just made that the routine. I even wrote it on the fridge so DH would know it and stick to it for at least two weeks. Although it has changed a few times since then. I consider it a baseline for us to start each day with... but we stay flexible depending on what else is happening.

2. We moved her bedtime to 7-8p, instead of when we went to bed. This included starting a consistent bedtime routine (which I also didn't want to do, but again... I was desperate).

3. I would go up and wait for her to wake every 30min so I could nurse her right back to sleep. This lasted for weeks even after I started this process. I thought she would always do it.

4. She started sleeping on a pile of blankets next to our bed for naps and the first night shift. This way I could sneak away after nursing her to sleep w/o disturbing her as much.

At first there wasn't much improvement, but after a few weeks she started to sleep longer stretches. One hour...1.5hrs... and sometimes we even get 3-4 hrs for the first night shift. She normally takes two two-hour naps a day now! It also takes a lot less time to get her to sleep now b/c her body clock is more attuned to our new routine.

She is still up to nurse every hour after that first long stretch at night, though. I bring her to bed with us at that point.

All in all, I call it a success.

However... she's regressing a bit now. But I chalk it up to having company, starting to walk and possibly teething also. I'm hoping that if I just try to stay consistent she'll be right back there again soon.

Like I said, I don't know if any of this will help you... but if you are as desperate as I was, you'll try anything short of CIO. smile.gif

Good luck to you! (And to the rest of us sleep-deprived mommies!)

And for some comic relief:

Daffodil 07-28-2011 08:01 PM

Originally Posted by Churrl View Post

3. I would go up and wait for her to wake every 30min so I could nurse her right back to sleep. This lasted for weeks even after I started this process. I thought she would always do it.

Oh yeah, this was something that worked to extend my DD's naps.  Maybe it would work to help your baby nap longer.  Mine wouldn't stay asleep longer than about 30 minutes if I wasn't next to her, until when she was about 6 months I started going to her and nursing her as soon as she stirred and started to wake, then slipping away again once she fell back to sleep.  Eventually she began to stay asleep for an hour or so without me having to nurse her. 


Or another thing you could try, if you aren't already, is cosleeping for naps.  I know you said you don't sleep as well when the baby is next to you, but if it extends the nap enough that you can really get some deep sleep it might be better than a too-short nap sleeping alone.

BabySmurf 07-29-2011 06:34 AM

yup, we are there too...except DS never had a stretch of time that he slept longer than 2-3 hours.  He will occasionally do a 5-6 hour stretch, and three times in a ROW he did it a few weeks ago, and I was elated....and now he's back to what feels like every hour.  I actually moved the clock so I can't focus on how many times or how apart the wake ups are. 


DS seems like is able to sleep for longer period, but he keeps hitting milestones, teething, gassy belly episodes, etc that interrupt things....and then he gets so over tired that he can't settle.  i'm beyond over tired, lol! DS is fighting naps and sleep in general SO HARD right now, it's mentally and physically exhausting me...probably even more so than the frequent wake-ups. 


I've been experimenting with different ways to get DS to sleep, and trying to pull out some kind of routine, but it's been difficult.  My mom told me that I didn't sleep more than two hours at a time until after I was two....or at least, that's when i started to need her less to get back to sleep.  i still wake up between sleep cycles a lot, so i'm guessing that my DS is like me.  the doctor at the time said that i had made a "habit" of waking up, and to give me benadryl to help me sleep through...and that it was okay to keep increasing the dose until it worked.  at something like quadruple the dose, my parents gave up.  so i really do think that for some babies/kids, it's a temperment/developmental thing...although i have heard that things like food allergies or deficiencies can cause funky sleep issues. 


you are definitely not the only wakeful duo!

BabySmurf 07-29-2011 06:35 AM

oh yeah, DS is 8.5 months old

nikkorae 07-29-2011 10:33 PM

My baby girl is only 3 months old, but I give her baths everynight, Bottle (8 oz's now :-) ) and out her on my chest while I read to her... and than when she is in a dead sleep I move her slowly into her crib and she sleeps there for about 6-7 hrs. Sometimes it could be health or sometimes it's a trust thing. Babies build trust for the first 2 years of their life. My husband says I shouldn't be so needy towards, but after all I did carry her inside me for 42 weeks. And that bond is something that some men do not understand, and that is why they call us Mom and not Dad!!

scrandall1173 07-30-2011 01:56 AM

I've been in a similar situation with my six month old. She sleeps in a cosleeper attached to our bed. What helped us was moving my hubby out of the bed. He tosses and turns rather vigorously and I suspected it was waking my daughter. Once hubby moved to another bed my daughter went from waking almost hourly to every two hours, then to two with one three or four hour stretch. So you may want to consider whether you or hubby may be causing some of the nighttime wakeups.

Soon I'm going to experiment with having DD in a crib and see if it gets even better. I will probably sleep on a mattress in her room. I like to be near but I also really need sleep!

Another thing that I think may have helped is allowing lots of nursing, on cue, for as long as she wants. I think it built up my milk supply. She may have been doing more nighttime nursing to accomplish this as she's so busy and distracted during the day she doesn't nurse as long then.

Good luck. Remember, too, this too shall pass!

Redmom 07-30-2011 09:34 AM

Thanks all for your replies.


It really does help to know I'm not alone.


I'll read through your suggestions carefully. 


I do co-sleep for the latter part of the night with DS but find I don't sleep as well because he likes to nurse frequently and I end up lying on my side, falling asleep that way and get really stiff and sore.


Some of the posters made a good point about babies being developmentally ready.  I do believe that babies have a survival instinct which make them wake and wonder "where is Mommy?" - makes perfect sense - of course sleep deprivation is sleep deprivation no matter what the reason....

jksmith 08-03-2011 02:20 PM

I have been going through something similar with my 7.5 month old. He was sleeping 6-7 hrs straight most nights until 5.5 months when he started teething. Now he will sleep for maybe 3 hrs the first of the night (usually in his own bed) and then wakes every hour (sometimes I get him back to his bed and sometimes just keep him with us). I always nurse him to sleep, but it used to be just a nibble and he pass right out again, now it seems like he's actually waking for pretty big feeds and I wonder if his "cluster-feeding" some how got switched to early morning instead of late evening, or if he just needs more solid foods during the day... so my next step is to pump some milk to have for evening feeding, get more protein into him at supper time and try a bedtime routine... I'll be checking back to see if anything works for you and I'll let you know if I'm successful too!


also, I tried having him sleep in another room last night as I was also worried that my insomniac husband was waking the baby, but it made NO difference except that I am more exhausted from going back an forth and having to stay awake for feeds....

Virginia90 08-03-2011 08:42 PM

Wow...this thread doesn't give me hope! My dd had STTN (7-8 hour stretches and nurses right back to sleep easily) up until a couple weeks ago when she cut a, she's been waking hourly, resisting going to bed, thinking it's play time in the middle of the night, and I can barely even get her to nap with me anymore. I used to be able to lay down with her and she'd nap 2-3 hours, but now, I'm lucky to get 30 minutes. She's never napped without me laying next to her nursing...We are just barely at 6 months now, and it looks like we have a long while ahead of us. guilty.gif

D_McG 08-04-2011 05:24 AM

How long do you give your DH to try to get the baby back to sleep?  If you are really at your wits end then all you can do is pick say one feeding to keep at night and let your DH and the baby work it out for the rest of them.  

At some point with my 2 I had to decide I wasn't feeding them between their bedtime and mine.  This was kind of easy with my DD b/c I sometimes work during that period.  Quickly they both figured out that they didn't have to nurse every time they woke and it really turned things around.

jksmith 08-17-2011 06:50 PM

so update:

I started increasing the amount of solid food, especially meat and whole grains, and introduced yogurt and cheese, and it seems to be helping. Getting a few more 3-4 hour periods of sleep at night and some longer naps in the day time...

OSUvet 08-18-2011 07:33 AM

Hmm, no advice here, just yet another mom with a wakeful baby. My DS is 6 months and WAS waking to nurse quite peacefully every 2-3 hours which I considered good (although some crib-sleeping, formula-feeding, CIO friends gasped at the horror...). Until about 3 weeks ago when he started the waking every hour thing. And he often wakes up crying and it takes him a minute to calm down and realize that I am right there and he will nurse for just a minute and go right back to sleep. Frustrating. We are just starting to introduce some solids (although this started before the first intro), and I am also hoping this will help. My DS does have many food sensitivities but I worked my diet out a while ago and haven't been having anything on the "no-no" list. Also his signs with the food issues were different from this.

1love4ever 08-18-2011 10:25 PM

OP, I went through the same thing with DD.  We co-slept from the beginning of the night, and she was a little restless but didnt usually wake me up til she actually woke up and cried.  The ONLY thing that would put her back to sleep was nursing.  She would SCREAM til she got it.  I tried rocking her for a little while, I tried putting her in her own crib.  Pacifiers.  Nothing worked.  I eventually accepted the fact that this was her, and as she got older she got better.  She eventually started sleeping for a little longer.  Then she eventually got to the point (at about 15 months old) where she would only wake up once or twice a night to nurse.  She had good nights and bad nights.  Once in awhile she would wake up 4 times, other times she'd sleep the whole night.  She is now 18 months, and at 16.5 months she stopped nursing.  She woke up her usual 2 times a night for the first 2 weeks, but was soothed fairly easily by me talking to her and touching her.  Then after that she started consistantly sleeping through the night.  She still wakes up once in awhile but is easily soothed back to sleep.  I think that if you stay patient with him and give him what he needs/asks for, which it sounds like you are, then your bond with him will be even stronger and he will have lots of faith in you because you provided him with what he needed.

As for co-sleeping, maybe you could try putting him to the inside of the bed against the wall, and having a small round pillow or rolled blanket between the 2 of you so that when he is restless he will not wake you until he cries, then you can easily grab him without getting up and nurse him.  Often DD and I would both fall asleep while she was nursing, and I'd wake up hours later with my boob hanging out of my bra lol.

jksmith 08-19-2011 09:51 PM

update: more success with increased solid food during the day and bedtime routine starting with oatmeal and applesauce and weak chamomile tea, then bath, story, and nurse to sleep. Only woke up twice last night.

BabySmurf 08-20-2011 06:19 AM

wow, what a change! I'm so glad that you figured out the "issue"!

mumknowsbest 08-20-2012 08:43 PM

Well our DS was sleeping 3-4 hour stretches quite often but is back to 2 hour stretches in the last week or so. He's nearly 8 months. I think it's because he is storing up a giant poo and is uncomfortable at night and also could be teething. As far as naps go up to last week I had a routine of nursing him sitting, then lying down on our bed on a Phil&Teds cocoon (with small blanket) that was opened out all flat. Then when he was asleep I would transfer him into the cot using the cocoon making sure that I made it all flat again and I always tucked the handles underneath the cocoon as I was a bit paranoid about him getting caught in them (highly unlikely). I also lay down with him for naps a few times so I could nurse him to sleep after the 45 min sleep cycle. Now he naps through for 1.5 - 2.5 hours during the day and I can lower him into the cot very gently without him waking. As far as the waking up every 2 hrs goes, it is quite exhausting. I make sure that I nap with him a couple of times a week to catch up on sleep. I am coping quite well with the broken sleep so far because I can go back to sleep easily, but not sure how it would work when/if I go back to work. I'm pretty sure it's because he is used to waking up frequently since he's coslept since he was born. Some other possible features:

1. He is lean - perhaps needs more milk than he gets during the day, however he eats a fair bit of solids now

2. I suspect my milk supply hasn't been keeping up with his needs (hence solids have been v. good)

3. He is extremely active and a funny happy baby - so I think he uses up lots of calories


I think the whole 2 hour wakey wakey thing is a feature of co-sleeping. HOWEVER, remember (I try to remind myself of this) that there could be lots of people for whom the problem resolved, and therefore they wouldn't be posting here. So don't loose hope or confidence in what you are doing. Recently I have been trying to keep him in the cot more than the bed, to see if I was waking him up.


Good luck!

Zirconia 08-26-2012 08:01 AM

Redmom, I was just coming here to write almost exactly the same post!  7 1/2 month old DD, slept great for about 5 months.  Then she started rolling and we stopped swaddling, and then teething, crawling, pulling up, fighting sleep, it seems like it all happened at once!  She also outgrew her cosleeper and we've been trying to get her to sleep in a crib right next to our bed.  She wakes up every hour of the night, and naps 20-30 minutes unless held, worn, or nursed.  I also think she's reverse cycling and doing most of her eating at night - during the day she's so distracted and active she barely nurses.  I'm so sleep deprived I can barely stand upright!  Some nights I'm not sure I sleep at all.


I was really hoping someone here would have some solutions, but it seems like lots of families are in the same boat!  We're trying cosleeping, increasing daytime nursing, more daytime activity, more solid foods, and allowing her to get more tired before putting her down.  I know some of that goes against common sleep wisdom, but I find if I let her run herself out of juice, she sleeps faster, more deeply, and for longer stretches.  I really have no idea if any of these strategies are working, I just need to feel like I'm "doing something about it."  Cosleeping is saving my sanity - my back and hips hurt, and my arm's asleep, and my sleep is lighter, but at least I'm not having to get up, stay awake to nurse (while trying not to cry), and wait until she's asleep enough to put her in the crib (if that ever happens).  I've been wondering about allergies but haven't had the energy to monitor my diet so closely, and I'm too exhausted to think about giving up caffeine - possibly a self-sabotaging situation!  Oh, and I'm also "fasting" from reading about baby sleep, especially those books and sites that claim she "should" be sleeping through the night by now!  Those delusional 'experts' can kiss it..  :)


I'm enjoying reading about what people have tried - if anything works for your babe, please come back and post!

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